So…Now What? (Thoughts from a soon-to-be-Graduate)

I’ve once again been highly lax at posting on this blog, but then I was a tad “busy*” and trying to finish my final Open University module during April & May. Then June…happened. I think. I honestly don’t remember anything of what I did during that month beyond inhale an obscene amount of fanfic (no really I’m talking millions of words). It was kind of like last July when I spent almost the entire month inside and read 53 books, hopefully I won’t I have set myself up for another vitamin D deficiency because I did at least go outside every other day or so *finger guns*

But I’m getting off-topic as usual. My module is finished. Hell my whole damn degree is finished! Yup you heard me, I am now one of those people who could chuck BA (Hons) in my email signature if I so wished. I won’t be getting the fancy expensive bit of paper that I can hang on my wall until the end of September but until then I have this.

So… that’s cool I guess. What I’m going to *do* with my degree now I’ve finished it, I have no fucking clue. Like I literally need suggestions because I’m drawing the blankest of blanks. I know I need to get a job of the preferably permanent variety but as I’m spending most of October in Japan it seems counter-productive to go hard on applying for things when I won’t feasibly be able to start working until November. These are the fun thought wheels that I like to run in when I’m trying to sleep like the nervous bean I am.

Until I get a grip on my life I’m mostly just trying to make sure I get out of bed before noon and leaving the house at least twice a week. Which is kind of happening. Although this past week something a little strange happened. I got an idea for a book. Then within 24hrs I had written 12 pages of a word doc planning out that whole book. And I *might* be considering starting to draft that book… erm tomorrow? I’m not sure if this is my worst self-set deadline to date but I reckon if I don’t give myself a concrete timescale to write this book I may piss about “planning” until the world ends.

I’m gonna give it a try and hope like hell that I don’t burn myself out within a week. I don’t know yet how fast I might be able to write this book but I’m hoping on a tentative 1.5-2k words per day so as I’m guesstimating the first draft should be somewhere around 70-80K, in theory I could have a draft complete before I go to Japan in October. We can hope.

I was thinking I’d try to blog about the process but let’s not make promises I might not keep. There will be a lot of me on twitter I imagine since you’d have to prise my phone from my cold, dead hands to keep me from procrastitweeting when I say I’ll be writing. So come yell at me to get off the internet and I’ll be eternally grateful.

See you soon?

Ray x


*That’s a filthy fucking lie. I am so unbusy it’s disgusting. What I am is lazy.


Deadlines? Ugh.

I have a French TMA due tomorrow. It is not finished yet and I ran out of fucks to give about 3 weeks ago. This is a rather troubling position to be in as this is only the first of 5 TMAs and while this one is only formative and will not count to my overall grade I really should care more right?

The thought has occurred to me that I just don’t like studying French this way. I love being able to speak the language and have conversations with actual French people – I never did talk about my trip to Paris in detail but I spoke French to every person except my boyfriend which is something I am proud of – but I really dislike studying really arbitrary topics in a French context. I know it might introduce some vocabulary I may not have come across otherwise but really, with how many people am I likely to want to discuss the commercial impact of having shops open on Sundays? Basically zero.

This particular TMA is supposed to be looking at giving advice to fellow forum users about managing their time better and discussing how increased working flexibility affects people’s lifestyles. I find the idea of *me* giving advice on time management fucking laughable since as you might have guessed from my blog, I procrastinate to doctorate levels. I spent most of today sat in my bed watching Youtube videos, knowing full well that this deadline is tomorrow and I had only about 160 words of the 300-350 that I need already written. That is some serious apathy I’m rocking right there.

I mean look, I’m blogging instead of finishing off this assignment now! I’m at around 250 words but I’m procrastinating again! It’s an endless cycle of doing a little, distracted a lot. *dramatic sigh*

Anyone else feeling similar levels of “meh” towards some aspect of their studying? Or is it just me being an apathetic lazy bugger?


p.s. This post has been the length of my TMA that I should be finishing right now. So easy right?

Ray en Francais – J’ai peur

I’m not writing this whole post in French you can relax.

It takes me three times as long to write in French and since most of the people who currently read this blog are from my OU writing module it’s not very fair to just dump an entire post that’s unreadable to most people.

If you don’t know what the post title means; J’ai peur = I’m scared. Currently I’m finding my French module a lot more intimidating than my writing one. I kinda know what I’m doing with writing, at least in the sense that I can put words down in a row and they manage to make sense and be marginally interesting to at least me. The worries I have about writing at the moment are more related to not knowing what I’ll do with the words once I have them and whether other people will like them.

French however, is a whole different kettle of fish. I’m not saying I’m shit at french – on the contrary, to anyone who has only studied to GCSE level I may seem like I’m fluent. To my Yr 7 & 8 students when I was a TA in French lessons I was basically a native. But when it comes to the degree level modules that I’m doing suddenly my ability to speak with a pretty convincing accent is just not enough to get me through. When my marks are relying on my ability to teach myself grammar points and make an effort to learn vocabulary around a topic and then use both these skills together, everything is a lot scarier.

I’ve been avoiding picking up my French textbooks for the last two weeks or so and now the module has officially started I really need to shuck off this fear otherwise I’m going to be left scrambling to complete my TMA at the start of November having not done most of the activities for this topic. I am going to have ample time to do everything in my textbooks for both French and my Writing module so I gotta make the most of it.

To this end I wanted to just make a concrete list of what is scaring me right now about this French Module. I’m sure that if I show this to my boyfriend later he’s going to frown at me and tell me I’m being ridiculous (I probably am) but it doesn’t mean that I don’t think these things.

Fears for L211

1. I won’t understand the course materials

2. I won’t be able to think of the words I need/want to use

3. I don’t have the level of grammar knowledge I should have by now

4. I won’t be able to keep up with the activities each week.

5. My TMAs won’t be complex or accurate enough for this level

6. The other students will be will better than me.

7. I will fail.

So there you go. Those are the worries that are currently making my attempts to do French seem all silly and pointless. Now I need to tear up this list before it just infects my brain with its toxic negativity.

Do tell me I’m being an idiot.


Creating my Writing Space

I’m pretty sure that almost all writer folk have dreams of having a workspace that is perfectly designed to be comfortable, secluded and still so utterly gorgeous that it’s the envy of anyone who sees it. Your dream office may include three walls of bookcases crammed with reference books and particular favourites to peruse on a whim when you need some inspiration, a heavy oak desk with lots of little hidden nooks for your stationery addiction and space for your laptop and sprawling notes (or typewriter if you’re old school like that), a big squooshy, twirly office chair that supports you even when you’re hunched over the desk writing frantically; while the facing window provides a peaceful view out onto lush garden.

*zones out into daydreams*

Ahem. Getting carried away a bit there. One day maybe I could have that dream office but for now I’m having to settle for my spare room. Which isn’t going to be too bad; I have a view of my garden through the floor-to-ceiling window – not that my garden could be described as lush right now, to be honest it’s a bit of a working progress. I’m hoping that as everything stops growing so damn fast we can finally get ahead of the jungle and take back control.IMG_0743

As for my desk it’s only a cheap one from Ikea (well *cheap* by Ikea standards) that has just enough space for my laptop and maybe a cup of tea so I’m going to have to make use of other nearby surfaces or the floor for my notes. The chair is comfy enough but alas it doesn’t twirl *sad face*, tis probably for the best since I would distract myself by spinning until I’m dizzy.

I do have a bookcase in my office which is home to my relevant non-fiction books -endless language books and dictionaries, my writing books, various french novels, random biographies and a clutch of maps & guidebooks. The shelves are also littered with some miscellaneous trinkets including my rubber duck collection, my enormous green quill and a Dalek mug that can scream “Exterminate” when I care to switch it on.

IMG_0744In order to remind myself to stay focused and make sure I know what I’m meant to be doing each day I’ve put my whiteboard and corkboard around the desk so I can’t possibly forget and also to provide a place to stick up what I’m calling my “Positivity Peas” so I have some helpful motivators for those days when the evil, negative part of my brain decides that I’m nothing but a fucking idiot who should be allowed to write. I *know* I will have those days so it’s best to be prepared for when they hit.

It’s not quite done yet but it gives me something to start working in so I can be productive and get into my routine before October.

Has anyone else got a particular place they go to do their writing/studying?

Ray x

Planning out my studies

So this morning I received a parcel with my study books for my OU French Module – all *eight* of them.  IMG_0701I was a little shocked since my Level 1 Ouverture module only had two coursebooks and a writing book yet this time for Envol I have six books for each study unit plus a study guide and writing workbook. So it’s going to need a fair bit of space on my shelf. Alongside it will be my BRB (Big Red Book) which is the workbook for my Creative Writing module and *that* book is a beast that I can use to bludgeon people with if they disturb me once I get into my work zone.

Now I’ve got the books I need for my two courses (still questioning my sanity over this decision) I can make an effective plan for myself to manage what tasks I need to do for each subject every week. The study guide for the Creative Writing course is an actual godsend because it has an explicit breakdown of what activities (reading, writing, etc.) you should be doing as well as time guidelines so that will basically become my bible for the A215 course.

My Envol course is going to be a little trickier as I will have study materials and activities to do from several sources; the unit textbook, the writing book and the audio-visual materials from the OU website. So I’ll have to try my damnedest to not forget the online stuff  – I tend to prefer having study materials in book or paper form because the tactility (apparently that *is* a real word) of them makes them more real for me and it’s harder to forget I have them to do.

I’ve worked up a basic timetable so I can organise my days effectively and not procrastinate on Twitter for half a day and then get irritated with myself for not having done anything. Currently my plan involves me getting up at the same time as Le Boyf every weekday and taking the time between 7 and 8am to get up, dressed and caffeinated  so that come 8 o’clock I can retreat into what will soon become my work office (AKA the spare room) and get cracking on whatever tasks I have for the first half of my day.

I’m hoping that doing four hour blocks of work (most likely with a tea break half way through :P) will mean I can get a productive amount done without falling over the edge into boredom because that’s when I’ll start to get distracted and procrastinate. After I have a lunch break I’ll then switch to my other subject and do four more hours work on whatever tasks I have for that. By the end of an 8 hour day I should hopefully *crosses fingers* have a quantity of work that I’m actually satisfied with so I don’t feel guilty about doing other stuff after dinner.

Unlike many OU students who are probably juggling part-time or even full-time jobs as well as studying either A215 or L211 (there are probably not many folk crazy enough to try two modules on top of a job) I will have the almost luxury of being able to arrange my studies without the worry of fitting the work in around other things beyond not completely ignoring Le Boyf by staying closeted away in my office once he gets home from work. I just have to make sure I don’t squander that luxury.

Now this post has taken far longer to write than I planned, I will have to get better at quickly bashing out blog posts in my self-assigned breaks so that I don’t waste work time by blogging about studying.

Have a good night all!

Ray 🙂